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First-Year Writing Seminar: Abundance: Thinking, Writing, and Creating In The Age of Plenty

Semester and Year FA 2018
Course Number FIRST-UG403
Section 001
Instructor Trevor Laurence Jockims
Days MW
Time 9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Units 4
Level U


Open to Gallatin first-year students only.


Every three minutes Americans take more photographs than the entire 19th century produced. We have some 100,000 words of text pass through our eyes and ears each day (that’s ¼ of  War and Peace ). We live with an abundance of information, choices, opportunities, products, texts, and images. Even the city we live in is bursting at the seams. But what is abundance and how do we navigate it ethically, socially, and artistically? This course investigates the history and changing shape of ideas about abundance, from sonnet writing in the Renaissance to twitter feeds today, from Augmented Reality poems and the Digital Humanities to consumerism, overcrowding, and artistic repurposing. Writers we will consider include Kenneth Goldsmith, David Foster Wallace, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Marjorie Perloff, and Walter Benjamin. Photography projects will include Penelope Umbrico’s  Flickr Sunsets , Brandon Stanton’s  Humans of New York , and Walker Evans’s  Many Were Called ; Music by Glenn Gould, Sonic Youth, and Jay-Z; Films by Richard Linklater, Sarah Polly, and Bela Tarr. As we examine these materials we will also consider the changing shape of the traditional college essay and how to navigate abundance in our own writing. Students will write three short papers and a final critical essay.


All Syllabi

Course Type

First-Year Program: Writing Seminars (FIRST-UG)